From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) in Rivers State has denied reports that the underage girls used for prostitution at a brothel in Azikiwe Street, Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, who were rescued last Saturday, were handed over to NAPTIP.
The head of NAPTIP in Rivers State, Nwamaka Ikediashi, told reporters in Port Harcourt that the police never handed over anybody to them.
She stated that they heard of the arrest but no victim or suspect was handed over to NAPTIP.
The NAPTIP commander revealed that she visited the Commissioner of Police on Tuesday, to discuss with him over the matter and the Commissioner of Police told her that it was like the matter has been charged to court.
The Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, Rivers State, has tasked the State Police Command to disclose the status of the matter involving the rescue of underage girls forced into prostitution and the arrest of suspects in a brothel at Azikiwe Street, Mile 2, Diobu, Port Harcourt at the weekend, by operatives of Rumulomeni Police Division.
Chairman of the group in the state, Ik Alexander, said on Tuesday, the group heard from the Commander of NAPTIP that the Commissioner of Police, CP Eboka Friday, told her it was like the matter had been charged to court.
Alexander said members of the organisation were in court on Monday and Tuesday but did not confirm such a matter.
He explained that it was also important for the police to disclose to the court the suspects were arraigned considering the interest of the public in the matter.
The group demanded to know the state of the underage girls if they were handed over to the Rivers State Government or reunited with their parents.
The group, however, called on the state government to take adequate steps in partnering with NAPTIP, police and other stakeholders to get the state rid of the menace of forcing underage girls into prostitution in brothels.